Facebook Apps

Facebook Games
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What are Facebook Apps?

Platform applications

On May 24, 2007, Facebook launched the Facebook Platform,[16] which provides a framework for third party developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features. Even games such as chess and Scrabble are available. As of January 31, 2008, there are more than 14,000 applications.[17]

Third-party websites such as Adonomics, which provides application metrics, and blogs such as AppRate, Inside Facebook and Face Reviews have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications. On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund," becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital firm.[18]

On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, in order to give more attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of users was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless applications.[19] Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uselessness."[20] Others have called for limiting third-party applications so the Facebook "user experience" is not degraded.

Primarily attempting to create viral applications is a method that has certainly been employed by numerous Facebook application developers. Stanford University even offered a class in the Fall of 2007, entitled, Computer Science (CS) 377W: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook". Numerous applications created by the class were highly successful, and ranked amongst the top Facebook applications, with some achieving over 3.5 million users in a month.


Different APIs are available for a third party application including authorizing APIs. Facebook offers "API calls" to third party to access facebook information, and Facebook Query Language (FQL) functions to fetch data. Other than fetching user data, APIs for access to facebook core features like notifications, invites, feeds and adding profile boxes available.

Facebook Markup Language

Facebook Markup Language ("FBML") is a variant evolved subset of HTML with some elements removed. It allows Facebook Application developers to customise the "look and feel" of their applications, to a limited extent. It is the specification of how to encode your content so that Facebook's servers can read and publish it, which you will need to use in your Facebook-specific feed so that Facebook's system can properly parse your content and publish it as specified.[25] You set the FBML for a profile box by calling profile.setFBML through the API. The FBML is cached on Facebook's server until profile.setFBML is called again through a canvas page. The official FBML documentation is now hosted on the Facebook Developers Wiki.

This FBML will add following parameters to any HTML form:

<input type="hidden" name="fb_sig_profile" value="1160"/>
<input type="hidden" name="fb_sig_user" value="1160"/>
<input type="hidden" name="fb_sig_session_key" value="b12d7f73fc47536b32e89e-1160"/>
<input type="hidden" name="fb_sig_time" value="1176705186"/>
<input type="hidden" name="fb_sig" value="773af1263c2b7bade7958e6b58d3152f"/>

The fb_sig value is generated using all of the other fb_sig_ parameters (but without the "fb_sig_" prefix included in their names) identically to how it is generated in the API authentication scheme. The fb_sig_user and fb_sig_session_key parameters will only be included if the user has a valid session with the application. Facebook also offers specialised Facebook Javascript(FBJS) and library.

Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect which was launched lately allows any website to connect to facebook to get user's information, and friend list. This is a 2 way system where website can publish activity stories in facebook user's news feed.

See also

Further reading

What is a Facebook Application or Widget?

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List of Facebook Features

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